John Giorno

Performance by the great poet.

14 JUNE 2013

John Giorno

  John Giorno, born in New York in 1936, is a highly innovative and influential figure; with a career spanning over 50 years, he is often considered to be one of the originators of Performance Poetry.

A key figure in the Factory art scene, John Giorno was a friend and contemporary of many of the most significant 1960s writers and artists, including Ginsberg, Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, and was the subject of Andy Warhol's experimental 1963 film Sleep.

In 1965, he founded the artist collective and record label Giorno Poetry Systems, which pioneered multimedia poetry, releasing over forty poetry LPs and CDs, as well as videos of live performances, by artists such as William Burroughs, John Ashbery, Patti Smith, Philip Glass and Laurie Anderson. Giorno also initiated the 1968 communication experiment Dial-A-Poem, which allowed callers to dial a number and listen to a recording of a live poetry performance. These innovative uses of modern technology brought poetry to new audiences, and were influential on later poetic movements, such as Spoken Word and Slam Poetry.

Giorno is also a pioneering AIDS campaigner and in 1884 founded the AIDS Treatment Project, an organisation which was effective in raising the public's awareness of AIDS long before it became an issue often addressed in public.

John Giorno lives in New York.